Mobile Broadcast Group Announces Tests

The Open Mobile Video Coalition will use SES Americom’s IP-Prime service to test two mobile DTV transmission technologies in the coming year.

MPH, for “mobile-pedestrian-handheld,” developed by LG Electronics and Harris, and A-VSB from Samsung and Rohde & Schwarz will undergo the tests. Both were demonstrated last year at the NAB convention in Las Vegas in April.

The IP-Prime trials will tests additional technical parameters as well as consumer use and response. Several test markets will be selected by the Coalition and those leading each set of trails. Broadcasters from among the 800 OMVC member stations will provide the transmission infrastructure and the local content in those markets. Sample test devices will include cell phones, personal media players and laptop computers. The goal is to be able to ascertain consumer usage patterns and system performance well enough to support a 2009 launch date.

In an interview last September, OMVC Chairman Brandon Burgess told Television Broadcast, “There is probably a device universe out there that is more than double the installed base of televisions. These are video-capable and range from handheld videophones to laptops to devices in mass transit and cars. We would put into that device universe everything that moves and has video playback capability.”

Burgess is also president and CEO of ION Media, formerly Pax TV.

Certain broadcasters among the 800 OMVC member stations will be selected to provide the transmission infrastructure and local content for the trials in each market. SES Americom will also contribute national content and platform services. SES officially kicked off IP-Prime last year, when several telcos launched the turnkey IP-based television service.

Harris will provide the in-band DTV transmission equipment for the MPH trials, and LG will contribute the handheld receivers. LG’s portable receivers use an 8-VSB based technology souped up with advanced channel coding dubbed “SCCC,” which it says overcomes “severe” Doppler and multipath conditions. LG’s receivers also power-saving feature something they call “time slicing,” to help extend battery life. The gear was displayed at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas this week.

Rohde & Schwarz will provide transmission equipment for A-VSB in-band mobile digital television system, and Samsung, the receivers. MobiTV, one of the first players in the mobile television space, will contribute, as will Nokia and SES.

A-VSB is based on 8-VSB and allows broadcasters to include multiple “turbo-coded” mobile streams with a backward-compatible main stream. A-VSB also eases synchronization in multiple-tower, single frequency network configurations.

Details of the trial will be announced later.